Editorial: Music, music, I hear music

Trent Ernst, Editor


And that, ladies and gentleman, was the lion’s share of live music you’ll hear in Tumbler Ridge this year.

Okay, so some of you don’t care much about live music, but as both a musician and a music lover, I love being able to hear people play music live. There’s something both ephemeral and indelible about seeing a band play live.

It’s not just the quality of the performance. Indeed, I’ve heard many live recording of bands I love and even shows I’ve been at, and the recording does nothing for me. I can hear the flubbed notes and the off-key harmonies.

But even when I can pick those things out during a performance, there’s something magical about having the sound cranked up to 11, about gathering with a crowd of people to experience not just the music, but the experience.

This was firmly in evidence on the weekend. My daughter decided that she wanted to do a lemonade stand at Grizfest as a fundraiser for Cops for Cancer, so I spent much of the weekend in the back with the vendors, making lemonade.

A few hundred feet back from the stage, all those things—the immediacy of the performance, the crowd, the in-your-face volume—were lacking. All I could hear was the music. It wasn’t quiet, certainly, but it was at a far enough distance that I could hold a conversation at a normal volume and not worry about not being heard.

Given the distance, all I could do was judge the performance based on the sound quality. While there were a few bands that were near note-perfect—Prism, Jerry Doucette—there were a few who shall remain nameless, that were not so great. Amusingly enough, these were often the performers who, afterwards had some of the best feedback from the crowd up front. “They were awesome,” says a friend. “Really?” asks I. “From where I was, they were an atonal mess.”

But that’s the magic of the experience. From the edges, it might not look like much. From the outside, it’s just so much noise. But once you dive in, once you’re there and present and in the moment, it’s so much more.

And it’s not just Grizfest. It’s life. Its easy to live your life on the edges, never really committing to anything, never charging the stage for the full experience.

For some people, this comes easy, stage diving into the crowd of life, trusting that the world will be there to catch them and hold them up. Others prefer to hang out at the back and sniff and offer criticism on those fools at the front. I am, to my discredit, frequently one of the latter.

Hunter S. Thompson famously said:

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

It’s hard, though, especially for many right now, in a place like Tumbler Ridge. Life doesn’t seem to be something to be lived, but endured.

Another famous writer, Charles Dickens, wrote in David Copperfield: “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.” And a lot of people are in the latter category.

One more quote, this time from Horace: Carpe Diem: Seize the day.

Okay, for some maybe a day is too optimistic, so, with summer fast fading, I challenge you to seize the moment. Grab onto a minute or two and live those to the fullest. Grab onto happiness and adventure and whatever life offers you this very second, and enjoy it to its fullest. Viva la vida. Viva la summer. Viva Tumbler Ridge